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Hesperocyparis arizonica (Arizona cypress)
Anderson, Wynn

Hesperocyparis arizonica

Hesperocyparis arizonica (Greene) Bartel

Arizona Cypress, Cedro Blanco

Cupressaceae (Cypress Family)

Synonym(s): Callitropsis arizonica, Cupressus arizonica, Cupressus arizonica ssp. arizonica, Neocupressus arizonica

USDA Symbol: hear22

USDA Native Status: L48 (N), PR (I)

Arizona Cypress is a graceful, pyramid-shaped tree, 30-40 ft. high (usually taller in the wild) by 15-20 ft. wide. Evergreen tree with conical crown and stout, horizontal branches. Soft-textured, pale, gray-green to blue-green, evergreen foliage is scale-like and flattened against the branchlets; the overall effect is like a braided bullwhip. The rough outer bark of older trees scales off to reveal an inner bark that changes color from tan to plum to red.

Arizona Cypress is often grown for Christmas trees. The durable wood is used locally for fenceposts. As many as 5 varieties, based on minor differences of foliage and bark, have been distinguished.


From the Image Gallery

15 photo(s) available in the Image Gallery

Plant Characteristics

Duration: Perennial
Habit: Tree
Leaf Retention: Evergreen
Leaf Complexity: Simple
Fruit Type: Cone
Size Notes: 30-40 feet tall, 15-25 feet wide.
Leaf: Green
Fruit: Though technically incorrect, the seed cones are often referred to as berries.

Bloom Information

Bloom Color: Not Applicable
Bloom Time: Apr , May
Bloom Notes: Flowers inconspicuous.


USA: AZ , CA , NM , NV , TX , UT
Native Distribution: W. TX to extreme s. NV, s. AZ & n. Mex.
Native Habitat: Hot, dry canyons & stream banks from 3000 to 7000 ft.

Growing Conditions

Water Use: Low
Light Requirement: Sun
Soil Moisture: Dry
CaCO3 Tolerance: High
Cold Tolerant: yes
Soil Description: Sandy, Sandy Loam, Medium Loam, Clay Loam, Clay
Conditions Comments: Arizona cypress is drought-tolerant, fast-growing and relatively short-lived (30-50 years). It is very widely used as an ornamental and for windbreaks in its native range.


Use Ornamental: Attractive, Fast growing, Aromatic
Use Wildlife: Cover, Nesting site
Use Other: Makes a good wind break.
Interesting Foliage: yes


Description: Propagate by seed or treated cuttings taken in late fall. Stratified seeds will germinate at 72 degrees.
Seed Collection: Most cypresses have seratiunous cones that can hang on the trees for several years without opening. Cone should be collected by cutting them from the limbs. They can be opened by boiling for 30-60 seconds.
Seed Treatment: Seeds require cold-moist stratification for one month.
Commercially Avail: yes

From the National Organizations Directory

According to the species list provided by Affiliate Organizations, this plant is on display at the following locations:

Santa Barbara Botanic Garden - Santa Barbara, CA


Bibref 298 - Field Guide to Texas Trees (1999) Simpson, B.J.
Bibref 355 - Landscaping with Native Plants of Texas and the Southwest (1991) Miller, G. O.
Bibref 841 - Native Alternatives to Invasive Plants (2006) Burrell, C. C.
Bibref 318 - Native Texas Plants: Landscaping Region by Region (2002) Wasowski, S. & A. Wasowski
Bibref 291 - Texas Wildscapes: Gardening for Wildlife (1999) Damude, N. & K.C. Bender

Search More Titles in Bibliography

Web Reference

Webref 38 - Flora of North America (2019) Missouri Botanical Garden, St. Louis, MO & Harvard University Herbaria, Cambridge, MA.
Webref 23 - Southwest Environmental Information Network (2009) SEINet - Arizona Chapter

Additional resources

USDA: Find Hesperocyparis arizonica in USDA Plants
FNA: Find Hesperocyparis arizonica in the Flora of North America (if available)
Google: Search Google for Hesperocyparis arizonica


Record Modified: 2023-03-23
Research By: TWC Staff

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